Actress Fatima Ptacek from the short film "Curfew." (Courtesy Academy of Motion…)
“Curfew,” the story of a depressed man who is asked to take care of his young niece, won the Oscar for live-action short film Sunday night. The film stars Shawn Christensen, who also wrote and directed the movie.
The short film categories are notorious as some of the trickiest to predict, killers for many who participate in their office Oscar pool. For the first time, the entire Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences membership was eligible this year to vote in the live-action and animated short film categories.
Oscars 2013: Nominee list | Live ballot | Trivia | Timeline
"Curfew" beat out four other films:
-- Canadian filmmaker Yan England’s “Henry,” which has drawn some comparisons to “Amour” for the way in which it grappled with aging and the end of life.
-- “Death of a Shadow,” a visually inventive story on the death of a soldier in World War II by Belgian filmmaker Tom Van Avermaet. It stars the actor Matthias Schoenaerts, who garnered attention this season for his role opposite Marion Cotillard in the feature “Rust and Bone.”
-- “Buzkashi Boys,” an Afghan tale directed by Sam French. The film follows two young Afghan boys who dream of escaping from the hardship of their daily lives.
-- "Asad,” directed by Bryan Buckley. The short centers on a young boy in Somalia torn between life as an honest fisherman or joining in up with gun-toting pirates.
Christensen has a diverse list of credits as an actor and screenwriter, including writing the Taylor Lautner action picture “Abduction.” "Curfew," the category’s only English-language entry, won numerous festival prizes and was considered by many awards-watchers to be the one to beat. In “Curfew,” his young niece is played by actress Fatima Ptacek, the recent voice of “Dora the Explorer.”
The 85th Academy Awards are being held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Sunday night, in a televised ceremony hosted by Seth MacFarlane.
PHOTOS: Top Oscar nominees
FULL COVERAGE: Oscars 2013
VIDEO: Nominees' definining scenes
OSCAR WATCH: What you need to know
BUZZMETER: Pundits make their final picks
VIDEO: 6 directors talk shop
Follow Mark Olsen on Twitter: @IndieFocus
VOTE: Play-at-Home Oscar Ballot 2013
INTERACTIVE: Oscar Watch 2013
TIMELINE: Academy Awards through the years